[Marxism] Re: Preliminary comments on Sheppard's memoir

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Tue Apr 19 07:58:14 MDT 2005

I don't think that comments on Barry's omission of one or another 
personal relationship are justified.

While it is entirely legitimate to write about one's own feelings, the 
writer has to be aware that even when you write about your personal 
relationships, you have to bring in factual elements and opinions of 
the other person. A writer may justifiably fear that s/he has made the 
wrong selection of facts, or misinterpreted psychological and emotional 
elements. In other words, the result of your writing could end up a 
useless partial lie as well as a useless partial truth.

More than one person is involved and in general, not only is it no one 
else's business, it would add nothing to a "political" memoir.

I think that it is entirely legitimate to pass over, not only earlier, 
but even present relationships, or to bring them in solely to make a 
useful political or social comment, or in some cases, to describe your 
own thought processes as indicative of the political period.

I think that Barry does that where it is useful. He has probably judged 
that it was not useful regarding his first marriage.

I knew Barry politically but not personally when I was in the SWP. I 
know him somewhat better now that both of us are out of the SWP. I also 
met his first wife and knew her slightly. Neither of them ever said 
anything to me about the other person. So why should he now tell the 
whole world?

We should consider his memoir on what he wrote, not on what he didn't 

Brian Shannon

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